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Professional Cornhole Makes Its Sports Betting Debut on DraftKings

Add cornhole to the list of professional sports you can now (legally) bet on. 
The American Cornhole League and DraftKings inked a partnership on Thursday allowing the tailgating game to enter the regulated sports betting market. 
"It's been a dream of mine ever since I started my mission of making cornhole a professional sport," American Cornhole League co-founder and commissioner Stacey Moore told Cheddar. "I said I have to figure out how to get gambling odds regulated legally on our sport, and fortunately we've been able to partner with DraftKings to make that a reality. So, we're super excited about it and hope that that just increases our fan base." 
DraftKings will offer free-to-play pools, as well as odds and lines for those willing to put money behind the beanbags. The first opportunity will start Friday when fans can bet on the outcome of the 2021 ACL Cornhole Mania national tournament at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas. 
If you're scratching your head wondering when cornhole became a sport, let alone a professional one, you may be a little behind the times. During its first time airing on ESPN The Ocho in 2017, 18- to 49-year-old viewers watched the Championship of Bags more than competing coverage of Major League Baseball, the final stage of the Tour de France, or the WNBA. Viewership and popularity have only increased since then especially because it was able to become one of the only live sports during the coronavirus crisis since social distancing could easily be built-in. 
"When the pandemic hit, I just made it an internal mission to be the first live American sport back on television," Moore said.
There are currently 256 professional players in the league today. Yes, some of them do this full-time, practicing one to two hours a day. The guaranteed prize money around the professional tour this year is a minimum of $500,000, with Moore saying he expects the pot to reach seven figures. 
The cash is bolstered by sponsorships from companies including Johnsonville and Guaranteed Rate. At the end of 2020, CBS Sports signed a multi-year deal with the American Cornhole League to broadcast the ACL Pro Shootout Series. Earlier in the year, ESPN re-upped their multi-year deal with the league. Many pros also make money from individual endorsements, as well as by coaching or by doing appearances. 
"If you think you're a good player in your backyard, you can step up to one of our pros anytime and figure out the reality that these guys train hard, they're really good at cornhole, and they're tough to beat," Moore said.
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